Under the Table

Under the Table
By Sean Guy. Directed by Anita Bound. KADS Town Hall Theatre, Kalamunda, WA. Jun 7 - 22, 2024

KADS present their second Sean Guy play of the year - Under the Table, winner of the 2022 Northern Territory Literacy Award for Theatre. An interesting blend of Agatha Christie style mystery, absurdism, and Australian humour, it was very well received by its opening night audience.

Playing on a split stage, one side interrogation room and the other ostensibly murder victim Edward Hush’s dining room, we meet two rather unusual detectives and a collection of suspects whose stories do not seem to agree.

Paul Larder’s Detective Sergeant Melpo could have stepped straight out of an old Australian police drama - laid back and cynical, with a naturally imposing presence. His partner, the rather incompetent Officer Tahlia, is played with competence and comic chops by Fi Livings. The victim’s doctor, rather an oddball, is played with much facial expression and exact diction by Vivame Testa.

Usually playing a murder victim who meets his demise in the opening minutes of a play, would be a great opportunity to nip off to the pub and amble back for curtain call. Not so for John Pomfret as the wealthy, well-endowed Edward Hush, whose dead body adds commentary and opinions throughout. An efficient and nicely managed performance, 

Suspects for the murder are Hush’s floundering business partner, estranged sister and new lover, all of whom have attended a dinner party the night before.

Fiona Forster relishes the role of sister Ophelia, infusing her with wry humour and impeccable timing. She clashes beautifully with Tarek Jabado as business partner Himmat, exchanging some great fire. Lover and downstairs neighbour (in more ways than one), Margaret, a latter-day Marilyn Monroe wannabe, is played with flair by Lauren Buckels.

If this show has a fault, it is that both author and director are a little unsure of what genre we are in. Plastic toy stethoscope and equipment worn by the doctor, clash with pseudo realism elsewhere, and we don’t seem to know which universe this is set in.

An interesting production that will delight lovers of new plays.

Kimberley Shaw

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